Yovani Gallardo is in the final year of his guaranteed contract, but the Brewers hold a $13 million option with a $600,000 buyout. If we're to believe Jon Heyman's sources, the Brewers plan to bring back the home grown starter next year.
Milwaukee failed to make the postseason but that shouldn't detract from Yovani Gallardo's performance. He made 32 starts pitching 192.1 innings. It's the 6th season in a row that he's made 30 or more starts. There's a good chance it would be 7 in a row had it not been for that freak knee injury in early 2008.
Those innings resulted in a 3.51 ERA, 3.91 FIP, 3.64 xFIP, and a 3.78 SIERA. The National League average for those stats are 3.73 ERA, 3.78 FIP, 3.70 xFIP, and 3.80 SIERA. Gallardo was only worse than average in FIP. Some might look at this and think Gallardo isn't any good or that he's below average. That's just not true.
I often wonder if people's perception of Gallardo is colored by what his prospect potential once was. We all though he'd be the next ace after Ben Sheets. He never became that and so people are understandably disappointed in his performance. Instead of seeing the solid 3 that he is, they see something worse. Just a thought.
Gallardo is not the strike thrower he once was. He lost a bit of velocity (though it's ticked back up this year which is nice) and to compensate began to develop into a pitch to contact guy. His GB% has risen for several years, culminating in a career best 50.8% which is above average. His K% is at a career low, but so is his BB%. Both are byproducts of a pitch to contact approach.
At worst Gallardo is league average. People misunderstand that as a bad thing. It isn't. At best Gallardo is slightly to potentially moderately above average. He has a track record of success and durability. On the free agent market the Brewers would have to give a contract worth 4 or more years at roughly the same $13 million. Instead they can keep Gallardo on what amounts to a one year deal. It's a pretty easy choice when you think about it. Of course Jon Heyman's reports have proven suspect before, so let's wait until it's official to celebrate.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs